Yesterday, I had to get up at first light and go to Bethesda for a training. This is even worse than it sounds.
I don't like Bethesda. I used to work up there, and I hated it for more than just the endless, rickety, barf-inducing Metro commute. A friend and I call it the Nexus of Evil, because the air is a little colder, no one ever smiles or holds the elevator, and the minivan mamas see pedestrians as little more than sentient speedbumps.
There are bright spots: if you're going to be stuck outside for a while, the Hyatt has outdoor heaters. There's a great cheap Chinese joint. There's also a Booeymonger and a Rock Bottom. And there was this great Red Line operator who would call it, "Betheeeeesda." But, once I stopped working up there, I never saw a reason to visit.
Which brings us back to yesterday: the Back to Bethesda Reunion Tour. I went, and nothing appears to have changed. None of the stores and restaurant had changed over. The same carpet joints still had the same, "Going Out of Business!" banners. (The least they could do is put a note underneath, "This Time, We Really Really Mean It!") The Bethesdians (Bethesdites?) wore the same downtrodden expressions they'd super-glued to their spirits two years ago.
It was all the same, and I hated all of it. But last night, as I teared up at the end of that inspirational tale of a delinquent-runaway-turned-teen bride, The Little Mermaid, I was hit with a ray of hope. Bethesda can't be all bad, after all, it's slightly warmer than Sarajevo. I don't like to write off an entire town (...except maybe Sarajevo). And, most importantly, I'll probably have to go up there for another training.
So, please, change my mind. In the comments, tell me something cool about Bethesda. If you can't think of anything, lie. Lie like a rug from a store that's been going out of business for two years. Just...help me.